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Alchemy sells Pierce stake

Steve Dinneen
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ALCHEMY Partners will sell its stake in broker Seymour Pierce as it attempts to scale down its investments in the wake of the departure of founder Jon Moulton.

Alchemy acquired 29.9 per cent of the City’s biggest small-cap brokerage after throwing its weight behind a management buyout in 2003.

The Seymour Pierce employee benefit trust will snap up the shares, which Alchemy and a management consortium took private for £7.4m.

It is understood Alchemy will make a decent return on its investment in Seymour Pierce, although the sum has not been disclosed.

Seymour Pierce is consolidating after taking a battering during the recession. Last year it posted a loss of £3m, after scraping a profit of £138,000 the year before.

However, it says it has recorded a profit of £4.5m in the first half of this year.

The deal with Alchemy means the firm is almost entirely owned by its staff, including executive chairman Keith Harris, who spearheaded the management buyout.

Harris is also involved in the “Red Knights” bid for Manchester United.

Alchemy is still reeling from the shock departure of Moulton last year to set up new private equity vehicle Better Capital.

Moulton, who recently joined the ranks of business leaders who threw their weight behind our campaign against a rise in capital gains tax, has already bought the iconic Reader’s Digest out of administration and acquired aerospace manufacturer Gardner for £20m.

He raised £142m when he floated Better Capital on Aim and is expected to rake in an extra £67m as it steps up to the main London Stock Exchange market in the near future.